Monday, 30 January 2012

Ed Miliband Speech in Glasgow

Thank you Johann

And thank you Margaret and Anas for everything you’re doing.

Let me start directly by talking about the developments on the issue of RBS bonuses.

Stephen Hester has done the right thing.

I welcome his decision not to take his bonus

But i am sorry we have a Prime Minister so out of touch with British people that he did not act to stop it earlier. He failed to be a responsible shareholder.

It took Labour’s threat of a parliamentary vote for the right thing to happen.

Nobody will think the events of the last few days are a good way to set pay in our banks.

But we can only avoid this kind of story repeating itself if there is a decisive shift in rules and behaviour.

We need a proper debate now about executive pay and responabilite capitalism.

My challenge to the Government is to show they understand they got it wrong on RBS and can act differently in the future.

First, the bonuses merry go round looks set to continue for a while. They cannot stop bonuses in the private sector bans but they can introduce a bank bonus tax.

They should do so.

Second, they must now act to change the rules on executive pay so that an ordinary employee sits on every single remuneration committee of every public company.

If the executives cannot look the ordinary workers in the eye and justify the salaries being paid, then they shouldn’t be paying them.

Third, we should change the rules on corporate governance so that bonuses are not for just doing jobs but for exceptional performance.

And introduce rules which say one salary, one bonus.

Theses are three immediate steps the Government must take.

But there is a challenge that goes beyond this Government.

What the RBS issue has shown is the gap between the lives and behaviour of a few at the top and the deep commitment to fairness and responsibility among Britain’s working families.

It is this gap which has led directly to today’s events.

The gap between the squeezed middle and the very top.

Successful economies depend on public consent.

People are not against rewards for outstanding success or risk.

But they want to live in a country where here is fairness when it comes to the fruits of success and fairness when it comes to the need for sacrifice.

This isn’t happening and hasn’t been happening for a long time.

So I’m not saying we got this right in Government.

But if one good thing is to come out of the RBS fiasco, it must be this.

We must relearn the lesson that we have forgotten:

We are not isolated individuals.

However affluent we are, whatever the world we inhabit, we owe responsibilities to each other.

That is the country i stand for.

This is the country my Labour Party will fight for.

But tackling this wider inequality, this injustice, unfairness is the mission for politics.

Today i want to make that case.

The case for a fair, just and equal United Kingham, with Scotland part of it.

Not a case based on fear of separatism.

But a case based on hope.

Hope for a more equal, more just more progressive future for Scotland and the United Kingham.

I come here with humility about the scale of challenge for Labour- nine months after we lost the Scottish elections.

And i come here to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Johann, our new Leader of Scottish Labour.

You have already shown you understand the scale of the challenge for our party, and that you have the determination to make the positive case for the United Kingham.

My parents came to our island as refugees from Nazi terror.

My Father joined the British Navy

He did his training aboard HMS Valorous, on the Firth of Forth.

A Belgian, he fought Fassicism with people from every part of the United Kingham.

As i was growing up, he didn’t talk to me about corning to England, then moving to Scotland.

He talked about coming to Britain; the country that gave him and my mother shelter.

My story is repeated a million times across the United Kingham.

My story shows that this country has been a refuge to many and a cause to fight for.

And therefore, if the of Scotland decide to separate, as they can, it would not affect Scotland alone.

It will affect all of us in the four nations of this country.

That is why i am here today.

So as this campaign begins, we need to understand the stakes.

Some people, including the First Minister, will tell you it is a battle between him and the Prime Minister, between the Government of Scotland and the Government of the United Kingham.

So let me say clearly:

It is right that the people of Scotland, not just Alex Salmond.

It is right for the decision in this referendum is made in Scotland.

But as Johann has said. It is right that it based on one fair question and one clear answer/

Every time you hear nationalist politician talk about the process of referendum, it is because they want to avoid talking about the substance of separation.

 Today, i want to concentrate on the substance of the argument.

About one part of positive case for the United Kingdom.

In the past, Labour has warned about the dangers of separatism and we will continue to point to the evidence.

There are vital questions around the possible costs and benefits of a separate Scotland that deserve to be explored.

But i support Scotland as part of the United Kingham, not because i think Scotland is too port or too weak to break away.

But for a profoundly different reason:

Because i believe that Scotland as part of the United Kingham is better for the working people of Scotland , and better for the working people of the United Kingham as a whole.

Let’s start by asking the question that Labour at its best has always asked about this country : what are the injustices facing working people and how do we overcome them ?

What is the most urgent priority for the people of Scotland?

We are living through some of the toughest time in recent history.

Unemployment at its highest in 18 years.

Rising food and energy prices.

And more than that:

We know in our heads and in our hearts that there are deep problems about the way our economy has been run.

When i meet working families who have been struggling, year after year just to earn enough to get by and put food on the table, I know we need to change things.

When i meet people have the will to work who keep getting turn down because they are up against hundreds of others, I know we need to change things.

When i meet parents who worry profoundly about their sons or daughters’ prospects in this world, i know we need to change things.

So when i look around, i see a country crying out for change.



And the talent betrayed.

These are the problems facing people in every part of the United Kingdom –England, Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland.

And so what is the most urgent task facing us today?

Putting up a border across the A1 and M74?

Or the task of creating a more equal, just and fair society?

I say let’s confront the real divide in Britain

Not between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingham.

But between the haves and the have-nots.

So i am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the United Kingham.

I am here with the same call of Labour Leaders down the ages, to say that we need to make the United Kingdom a fairer, more just place to live.

And we can do that the best, together.

I believe it firstly because it is the lesson of history.

Our story, as a party and as a country, is not what we achieved separately but what we achieved together.

The story of the Scotsman, the Englishman is not just the start of a good joke.

It is the history of social justice in this country.

It was a Scotsman, Keir Hardie, who founded Labour party a hundred and twelve years ago.

An Englishman, Clement Attlee, who led the most successful Labour Government in history.

And a Welshman, Nye Bevan, who pioneered that Government’s greatest legacy, our National Health Service.

These are the achievements of our nation working together.

And that’s not all.

Before we passed the Provision of School Meals Act together, children from Lands End to John O’ Groats would go hungry just because their family was poor.

Before we built the NHS together, if you fell ill, you would only be treated if you could pay for it.

Before we passed the Equal Pay Act together, a woman could do exactly the same job as the man sitting next to her and still only be paid half his salary.

And before we established the minimum wage together, someone could work every day intill their muscles ached and till be paid less than £1 an hour.

These progressive achievements do not belong to one nation of the United Kingdom. They are British achievements.

Our history is that we have made this country fairer , together.

And the challenges of today demand that we once respond together.

And the challenges of today demand that we once again respond together.

We live in the shadow of the banking crisis.

The young person joining the dole queue behind a million others.

The small business which wants to grow but can’t but can’t get the loan.

And the father who lies awake at night worrying about how to pay the bills.

That is what i mean when i say that we need to build a more responsible capitalism.

It is a big challenge, and one i believe we can only overcome together.


Not only because together we are stronger. Sharing the risks and rewards in an uncertain world.

But because we are not separate economies, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

We are on economy.

The banks serving Glasgow are the same as the ones serving Gloucester.

The shops on your high streets are the same as the shops on my high Street.

And decisions made by British companies like BAE will affect their employees in Govan as much as their employees in Barrow.

We can make our economy work for the majority; we can make capitalism more responsible.

But i tell you this:

We can only do it together.

We must reform our financial services, its rules, it culture, its institutions.

But if we change he rules separately , banks would move whatever the rules were weakest.

We need stronger rules together, not weaker rules apart.

We can change our economy so that there are more and better jobs by encouraging businesses to think long- term, in tears not quarters.

But we can only do it together.

Because our economies are as connected as they are: more people in Scotland are employed by large companies based in the rest of the UK than in Scotland.

So reform in one country and not in another would simply mean companies moving a few miles north or south to where rules are easiest for them.

Rather than advancing fairness together.

Because our economies are as connected as they are: more people in Scotland are employed by large companies based in the rest of the UK than in Scotland.

So reform in one country and not in another would simply mean companies moving a few miles north or south to where rules are easiest for them.

Rather than advancing fairness together, the risk is a race to the bottom on bank regulation , on wages, and conditions at work.

Take another great progressive change of our time, climate change.

That’s why i say that the best way to make this country fairer is to do it together , as one country.

Mr Salmond, you can’t build fairness in Scotland by giving up on fairness in the United Kingdom.

And I don’t believe either, that people in Scotland want to give up on fairness in the rest of the United Kingham.

And i don’t believe either, that people in Scotland want to give up on fairness in the rest of the United Kingham.

For the basic reason that we care about each other.

Alex Salmond claims to want to set a progressive example.

Let me tell him , there is nothing progressive about a brand of politics which is based on dividing people with the same needs , living on this same small island.

There is nothing progressive about a vision which saying a pensioner in Liverpool is no concern of his, a child growing up in poverty in East London is no concern of his, a disabled person in Midlands is no concern of his.

That isn’t a progressive vision.

That is shutting the door on the problems of your fellow citizens.

I believe he is wrong.

By shared values and common interests.

Not an island dived by borders on the basis of nationalities or nationalisms.

But one brought together with the strength drawn from multiple identities.

Bound together the common lies.

Nearly half of all Scots have English relatives.

When a Scotsman who works in the shipyards of Govan meets an Englishman who works on the docks in Merseyside, he doesn’t see a foreigner, he see a fellow countryman.

The pensioner from Aberdeen or Ayr has more in common with the pensioner in Bristol or Bolton than with a pensioner in France or Belgium.

When the Olympics are on, nobody in the pubs in Newcastle will cheer any less loudly for Chris Hoy, wearing the Union flag, just because he was born in Edinburgh.

Because over hundreds of years, we have written a story of four nations forgining a country together.

Of defending that country against fascism.

And of fighting to make it fairer for working people.

Today , that struggle for social justice.

That fight, together, is what we need more than ever.

So Alex Salmond want to tell you a very particular story.

In this story, England is conservative, while Scotland is a progressive beacon.

Of course, the Scottish people have always stood out for their strongest ideals of social justice,

Shown by the history of educational opportunity for all,

Shown by the campaign down the years for the right to work.

And the opposition to the poll tax.

But my case is that these ideals for Scotland can best be realised in the United Kingdom.

And that the progressive ideals of the people of Scotland are more ambitious than Alex Salmond would claim.

He ran in 2011 on the slogan ‘be part of better.’

I passionately believe people do want to be part of better – a better United Kingdom.

So let’s reform our banks together.

Let’s create prosperity together.

Let’s tackle inequality together.

Let’s build a sustainable country together.

Let’s pass on the right opportunities for the next generation together.

I stand here today as a challenger against a Government in Westminster which is wrong on the economy, and has no vision for the United Kingdom.

And as a challenger against a Government in Holyrood with a plan for separation which will not help the working people of Scotland.

A challenger, determined to fight to make this whole country fairer.

Because I am proud of what our nations have achieved together.

And because I know that our best, our fairest, our most just days lie ahead of us, together.